While many history museums rely on glass cases to exhibit their
artefacts, Eden Camp near Malton has a bit more...
Eden Camp itself is an artefact - it was built as a Prisoner
of War camp in 1942.
History of Eden Camp
A small number of Army troops arrived at Malton in 1942, and erected
a barbed wire enclosure and tents which would serve as a camp for
the influx of enemy prisoners of war captured in North Africa.
Two hundred and fifty Italian prisoners were the first arrivals,
and were ordered to construct a larger and more permanent prison
camp. While at the camp, prisoners worked on nearby farms.
The Italian prisoners left the camp in 1944, and German prisoners
were detained there from 1944 until 1948.
In 1986 a local businessman found that 35 of the original 45 huts
were as they were left in 1948, and that much of the prison camp
Now, the huts are equipped to cover all aspects of World War
Two, from social to military history. The huts cover subjects like
Hitler and the Nazis, evacuation, propaganda, the Land Army, munitions
factories, The Red Cross, the war at sea and in the desert, the
life of a PoW, Dunkirk, the Dambusters, the Great Escape... the
list goes on.
There's a War News Reading Room with newspaper pages from nearly
every day of the war; a collection of military vehicles; a 'dig
for victory' garden; an assault course; a Garden of Remembrance;
a music hall with puppet shows and war-time entertainment, and food
served in the Mess.
War Two evacuees
There's a hut devoted to the First World War and one about British
conflicts since the Second World War, including Palestine, Cyprus,
Korea and Iraq.
Much of the memorabilia and material has been donated by ex-prisoners
of war, prison camp guards and civilians who knew the Italian and
German prisoners of war based there.
Eden Camp Modern History Theme Museum is open all year round
from 10am - 5pm. Last admission is 4pm.